Who’d have the Four Million Dollar Man’s beastly problems?


The good news is that there is both electricity and water in Durban’s ward 33 this morning, something of an achievement in our part of the city in recent months

The bad news is that this will come to an end on Monday, when the eThekwini Municipality introduces water rationing for the city as a result of the breakdown of a number of reservoirs around Durban.

The worse news is that the water rationing is likely to go on for a while — at least one of the affected reservoirs is only expected to be fully functional again in December — along with the scheduled power cuts and those brought on by cable theft.

Factor in the reality that Durban’s beaches are likely to remain unswimmable for a similar period — nearly 80 % of the city’s sewage works were destroyed in the floods in April — and there’s not really much to look forward to in the July holidays in South Africa’s winter playground.

That said, my problems are far lesser than those of our head of state, Cyril Ramaphosa.

The Four Million Dollar Man has issues in the House, with the Red Berets point of ordering every time his name is mentioned — let alone when he tries to address them — and the rest of the opposition parties trying to jam him up through parliamentary inquiries, impeachment motions and the like; a smallanyana revolt in his party and the Hawks, the Reserve Bank, the taxman and the Financial Intelligence Centre banging — figuratively at this stage — on the presidential door.

There’s also the potential of having to stave off a challenge for the presidency of the Republic — if he makes it through the ANC conference in December — from a whole host of new contenders come 2024.

The electoral court has given the government until the end of year to allow individuals to contest national and provincial seats, so the freaks are going to come out to play.

My money is on former chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng contesting the presidency, in addition to Mmusi Maimane and Songezo Zibi and who knows who else.

There’s no way MoMo will be able to resist the temptation to stand on a fire and brimstone ticket. He loves the camera and the sound of his own voice way too much to simply go away and leave us in peace.

Perhaps it’s time to get serious about politics myself — take a run at the presidency, if I’m not doing anything better in May 2024.

At this juncture, the most serious challenge of all faced by the president is the most obvious one: Where does Ramaphosa stash his dollars, now that the whole world knows that he keeps them under the mattress?

There’s another auction of beasts at the presidential farm this weekend, so there’s sure to be a dollar to two needing to be put away by the time business closes on Saturday evening.

I can picture the lahnee sitting around the fire on Saturday night, all khakis, long socks and grinning, sipping some of Stennenbosch’s finest while figuring where to put the dollars, pounds and euros taken in during the day’s auction.


Granted, the presidential back must be hurting a whole lot less, but it can’t be a lot of fun — or easy — to find spots to stash that kind of money that are so secure that no sticky- fingered Namibian — or fellow South African for that matter — will get their hands on them.

Perhaps Ramaphosa will take a page out of the book of his predecessor, Pay Back The Money, and go large and build a bunker under the farmhouse at Phala Phala, complete with a walk-in strongroom and digital money counters, a far more dignified stash house for the head of state’s forex than under the presidential Posturepedic.

Perhaps el presidente should adopt stealth mode — all eyes are, after all, on him — and bury his moolah under the Ankole kraal instead, or even build the bunker there, to avoid further observation by Arturo and the boys.

The combination of Ankole horns and the smell of cow dung should keep peering eyes at bay and stealing hands out of the presidential cookie jar the next time Ramaphosa jets off to Addis on official business.

Perhaps Ramaphosa will decide to hide his dollars in plain sight — stash them in the Union Buildings, where he can keep an eye on them, count them every afternoon when he knocks off work.

Ramaphosa could get smart and make use of the cargo hold of the Inkwazi, given that nobody else uses the presidential jet, or stash it under the mattress there, so he can sleep on his paper during trips abroad.

Or he could also put it in the bank, like the rest of us.

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Paddy Harper
Paddy Harper

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